Do you feel like sometimes “life” gangs up on you? Is there truly more to life than this? Why do bad things keep happening to me, over and over–the same things!? Have you ever uttered those words, or heard someone say them? I think from time to time, we all go through this season of life. If you’ve been a believer in Christ for any length of time, you’ve also probably heard someone say, “God will never give you more than you can handle, as He’ll give you a way to escape the trial.” Both of these statements are connected; however, only one has been taken out of context. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he writes:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
When I was in school it was extremely rare for me to fail a test; while it did occur, when it did, it was because I had failed to pay attention and study. The basic understanding of this passage is not that God delivers us from temptations whenever they arise; to the contrary, the temptations that are occurring are not extraordinary—they occur to all of humanity—and the aspect of God providing a way out—well—that’s the reason why people continue to have circumstances happen over and over again. When we fail to get through the situation that God has allowed to occur in our lives, we’ll most definitely see that test again. Think about it—we learn more from our failures than our successes and more from the tests in life. Why do we give people tests? We give them tests to make sure that they know the subject matter.
Escaping the Test
When we groan, “Why does this keep happening to me?”—it is likely that we’re not pressing through the trial that we had previously faced—we failed to pay attention to the spiritual principles that God was placing before us. All that we wanted to accept was that the “test” was hard. So, we cried our hearts out and God was faithful—He gave us a way of escape. However, since He created us and knows our hearts and intentions (Job 10:11; Ps 139:13; Heb 4:12), God indeed takes us out of those situations, if it is His will. But He will also allow us to face the same test because we have not learned the test subject matter.
The Real Reason
The main reason why we will continue to see the same test over and over again is to defeat our fear. There is some motive foreign to us—something that we cannot see with our flesh. More than likely, the reason why we wanted out of a situation is based upon fear (i.e. it’s too hard, hurts too much, scares me, etc.). God does not want His children in fear of anything—it is one of the most common phrases in the Scriptures (“Do not fear”). When we fear, we end up in bondage. We allow a situation to overpower God’s ultimate trust and rule in our lives. And so, being the loving Father and Creator that He is, we take the test all over again.
Let me validate this concept with one analogy. Imagine that I make a remote controlled modified car from scratch. My desire is to make it so that it can climb steep hills, run up the sides of jagged rocks at high speeds, jump to great heights and land, and fly through muck and mud. I put heavy duty, yet light tires on it, soup up the engine, and weld a reinforced frame with great suspension. So, finally the day comes, I finish my all terrain mud-bog car. I’m also in luck, it rained the night before and the ground is wet and muddy. I take the car into my backyard, where I have already created a six foot high dirt hill with jagged rocks and clumps of grass sticking out. The moment of truth arrives. I place the car down, fire it up, and slowly and carefully steer it around the puddles, making one lap through the neat grass of the yard and bring the car back to me without even a scratch, splash, or mud speck on it, right? No way! That car is going to get dirty, muddy, and climb to it’s potential—that car is going to SOAR! That’s the entire reason I created it.
Likewise, God has great things for you to accomplish—to get dirty, climb fears, go through muck and mire—and, SOAR! When we serve God, He wants our whole hearts—not half-filled with fear. Whatever our fear may be, accordingly, the test will come. Therefore, the next time you hear someone say, “Why does this keep happening to me?” You’ll know that God has a plan for them to get over their fear—to jump over their hill of adversity.